Celebrating Chanukah Study Part 2

Welcome back!  Today is Thanksgivikkah Eve.  Are you are prepared for tomorrow?  I still need to buy a few last minute items for the feast.  Our family will be celebrating both Thanksgiving and Chanukah at my mother's home with all the familia!  I'm looking forward to noshing on some latkes! 

So, are you ready to step back into history and dive into part two of my Celebrating Chanukah Study?  Yesterday, we learned what Chanukah is and the meaning of the menorah or hanukkiyah. 

 {Click Here to read Part 1:  Celebrating Chanukah Study:  What is Chanukah?}

Today, I am going to teach you about the history of Chanukah and how it relates to Jesus Yeshua our Messiah. 
Hebrew Lesson (Bonus)
Yeshua or Yehoshua- Jesus' name in Hebrew
Yeshua-Ha-Mashiach- Jesus the Messiah 

Where is Chanukah found? 
Although there are no recorded writings of Chanukah in the Old Testament, the history is found in the book of the Macabees. The book of Macabees is a Jewish history book.  It is not found in the Tanach or Old Testament, however we know that Chanukah existed because it is recorded in the New Testament when Jesus observed this Biblical Feast of Dedication according to John 10:22.   This is very important, because Jesus observed Chanukah as being the ultimate fulfillment - the light of the world as it says in John 8:12.  Jesus said, "he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life".  The New Testament book of John is the only reference to Chanukah and also full of references of Jesus Yeshua as the "light".     

Rededication of the temple in 165 BC 
Why?  In 242 B.C. King of Syria, Antiochus Ephiphanes invaded and conquered Jerusalem.  Two years later, Antiochus returned to Jerusalem with his army and placed great persecution on the Jewish people.  He tried forcing his Greco-Roman pagan religion and ideas on them.  He started with their place of worship- the temple and stole all the treasures and stopped all Jewish sacrifice and worship.  The most disgraceful thing is that he defiled the altar by sacrificing a pig on it and erected an altar to Zeus in the temple.  He defiled the temple and destroyed it by pagan ways.  All Jews were forced to stop practicing in religious acts and those who did not comply were tortured, mutilated, crucified and hung.  

The Jewish people knew they had to fight back!  They did this with their leader, Judah Maccabee.   They rebelled against the Syrian army and soon they won the war and returned to take back what the enemy had stolen.  They returned to Jerusalem to re-purify and cleanse the temple.  When the people went to light the menorah which were the oil lamp stands, there was only enough oil to last 1 day.   

They stood on the faith of the Lord.   Miraculously the lamp stand stayed lit for 8 days until  new oil could be prepared.  The number 8 in Hebrew means "new beginnings".  That miracle which God gave to his people started the 8 day Miracle of Lights or Feast of Dedication.   Since then, Jewish people celebrate Chanukah as a remembrance of the Great miracle and the rededication of the temple.  

How does this relate to Jesus?  
At Chanukah, we remember how the temple was cleaned up and rededicated.  Jesus came to fulfill the law and He was the ultimate sacrifice.  That is why we don't need a physical temple to sacrifice a lamb anymore because Jesus Yeshua was the atonement for our sins.  He is the lamb that was slain.  However,  as believers in Jesus,  we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  We can focus on rededication.  We can clean up our temple of all unrighteousness only through Jesus.  We can celebrate Chanukah as a time to rededicate our hearts and to walk in the light of the Lord.  May we shine our light to the world, for all to see!  

For you used to be darkness; but now, united with the Lord, you are light. Live like children of light, for the fruit of the light is in every kind of goodness, rightness and truth — try to determine what will please the Lord.   Have nothing to do with the deeds produced by darkness, but instead expose them, for it is shameful even to speak of the things these people do in secret.   But everything exposed to the light is revealed clearly for what it is, since anything revealed is a light. This is why it says,“Get up sleeper! Arise from the dead,and the Messiah will shine on you!”       Ephesians 5:8-11

Are there pagan things that are defiling our temples? 
Are there babylonian ways which we admire or entertain above our Lord and King?  These can be the worldly treasures of this world.  Our walk with Jesus must be all that we can be in Him.  Things that may be keeping us from getting closer to Him are an idol.  

Our goal is to be Holy as He is Holy.  We should desire and crave Holiness. This is a great time that we can use the Feast of Dedication to rededicate ourselves to the Lord.  Let us say, my life is in you Lord, everything is yours!  I dedicate myself to you. 

5 Bible Verses to Walk in Holiness

  1. 1 Corinthians 6: 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?                                                           
  2. 2 Corinthians 7:1-Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
  3. 1 Thessalonians 4:7- For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 
  4. Hebrews 12:10-For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness
  5. Revelation 22: 11-Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

I want to finish this study with a time for us to reflect on our Lord Jesus, the ultimate Miracle Maker and Light Giver!   As we hear this song by Marty Goetz, let us evaluate our lives, our temples and rededicate ourselves totally to Him.  

May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving and Happy Chanukah!  

Blessings and Shalom, 

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